Feb. 27, 2013: A crew member works to install GateKeeper's final piece of track. Photo courtesy of Cedar Point.
SANDUSKY -- Every twist, turn and scream-inducing maneuver is set -- Cedar Point has finished installing the track for GateKeeper.
After months of construction, the last of the roller coaster's 102 track pieces was put into place around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
Photos: GateKeeper construction at Cedar Point
Park spokesperson Annie Zelm says the track's completion came about two weeks ahead of schedule.
"We've been fortunate to have a relatively mild winter so far, which has kept the construction moving along," Zelm says.
The first track segment was erected on Nov. 5, just a few weeks after the first shipment of pieces arrived at the Sandusky scream park on Oct. 23. GateKeeper's lift hill was later "topped off" on Dec. 5.
Although installing all 4,164 feet of steel track is done, there's still a lot of work before GateKeeper can soar to life on opening day.
"Work on the station and other elements are still moving along on schedule," Zelm says. "The next phase is completing all the electric work and beginning the testing process, which is expected to take at least a month."
VIDEO: Rendering of GateKeeper in action
August Lococo, project manager and corporate director of maintenance and compliance for Cedar Fair, says GateKeeper's construction has been a collaborative effort.
"Our crews worked six days a week through rain, snow and freezing temperatures, and we're pleased to have completed the track ahead of schedule," Lococo explains.
GateKeeper will take its riders up a 170-foot hill along Lake Erie's shore before rushing them toward the park's redesigned main entrance at speeds nearing 70 mph along a wicked path with six inversions. The winged coaster, which will last 2 minutes 40 seconds, offers the sensation of flying as riders are seated on the sides of the track with nothing above or below them.
GateKeeper, the park's 16th roller coaster, breaks several records, including tallest drop, longest track and most inversions of any winged coaster on the planet. It is the first roller coaster introduced at Cedar Point since Maverick debuted in 2007.
Overall, Cedar Point says GateKeeper and renovations to the main entrances represent an investment of $30 million.
To make room for GateKeeper, crews demolished the Disaster Transport indoor roller coaster and the Space Spiral rotating observation tower last year.
Cedar Point opens for its 144th season on Saturday, May 11.
Elements of the ride:
- Wing over drop: Once riders crest the top of the lift hill, the coaster train will rotate 180 degrees to the right, turning them upside down before plummeting toward the ground at speeds in excess of 65 mph.
- Immelmann: A maneuver where riders enter a half loop, go through a half twist and curve out in the opposite direction from which they came.
- Camelback: Riders will fly over a giant, 105-foot-tall camelback hill that will be filled with airtime (weightless sensation).
- Giant flat spin: A 360-degree flip that will provide two different ride experiences for guests on each side of the train.
- Zero-G roll: A flying element that takes riders through two support towers that will dominate Cedar Point's new main entrance.
- Inclined dive loop: A tight, 180-degree turnaround pushes riders through an overbanked turn and rockets them back toward the station.
- 360-degree in-line-roll: An element that will take riders extremely close to the new massive support towers while flying over guests who are entering the park below.
- Camelback drop: A quick drop that will help propel the train and its guests through the ride's final spiral element.
- Spiral: Gatekeeper's track rotates 360 degrees before bringing the coaster train back to the ride station.